The Spectacle Blog

This is What Happens When Israel Plays Nice

By on 6.1.10 | 11:15AM

Following up on John's excellent post on the Israeli flotilla incident, I'd just like to add that this is yet another example of how Israel gets itself into trouble when it tries to play nice and goes out of its way to appease the international community. In this case, terrorist-linked extremists posing as a human rights workers were seeking to prevent Israel from enforcing a Naval blockade that is in place to stop a terrorist group dedicated to Israel's destruction from importing weapons. Yet instead of preparing to confront violent extremists, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak was more concerned with world opinion, so he sent commandoes into a situation in which they were being beaten by a mob, and only authorized to use paint guns.

Had Israelis actually planned for how to deal with violent passengers and shown from the get go that they meant business, it's less likely they would have ended up needing to use lethal force. But once the IDF was forced to choose between letting its soldiers get beaten to death or opening fire, lethal force was the obvious consequence.

In a strong piece, Caroline Glick documents the all the warning signs that the flotilla would be filled with suicide protesters who were part of a Turkish terrorist group posing as a human rights organization, and explains why Israel lost the information war:

(I)t is clear that Israel's information strategy for contending with the flotilla was ill-conceived. Rather than attack Turkey for its facilitation of terrorism, and openly prepare charge sheets against the flotilla's organizers, crew and passengers for their facilitation of terrorism in breach of both Israeli domestic law and international law, Israel's information efforts were largely concentrated on irrelevancies. Israeli officials detailed all the humanitarian assistance Israel has provided Hamas-controlled Gaza. They spoke of the Navy's commitment to use non-lethal force to take over the ships. 

And now, in the aftermath of the lethal takeover of the flotilla, Israel's leaders stammer. Rather than demand an apology from the Turkish government for its support for these terrorists, Defense Minister Ehud Barak called his Turkish counterpart to talk over what happened. Rather than demand restitution for the terrorist assault against Israeli troops, Israel has defended its troops' moral training in non-violent crowd control. 

These efforts are worse than worthless. They make Israel appear whiny rather than indignant. And more depressingly, they expose a dangerous lack of basic comprehension about what has just occurred and a concomitant inability to prepare for what will most certainly follow.

In the wake of the flotilla incident, Israel has managed to look weak and confused, while still earning the condemnation of the world. We saw this on a much larger scale in the 2006 Lebanon War, as then Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's indecisiveness hindered the operation against Hezbollah, and triggered the fury of the international community anyway. With Obama in the White House, Israel has lost its one reliable ally. Israeli leaders would be better off simply concentrating on getting the job done right, rather then attempt to win over a world that is consumed with hatred for the Jewish state.

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